Ate Too Much This Holiday Season? Maybe It’s Time For a Detox!
Ate too much over Christmas? Yea, me too. The second helpings of delicious (and extensive) food spreads sure do have most of us feeling bloated and sluggish. I am looking for a way to feel fresh again, so I think… “maybe it is time to look into a detox.”
Well, what is a detox? By definition, a detox quite simply is the process of removing toxins from the body. Why do we detox? Maybe to jumpstart a weight loss regimen or some have the notion that flushing their bodies of stored Christmas cookies, honey-glazed ham, & chocolate-covered-everything will, in turn, give them more energy and have them feeling “bright” again. From popping herbal pills to swigging liquid grass, what is worth your time and money and what is not? More importantly, what is safe?
Whatever your reason, there are a lot of options. From detoxes that cost can cost you $500 – $3,000 to colon cleanses or programs that take solid food out of your diet completely, there is a fine line between what will leave long-lasting benefits and what will leave you grumpily carrying on your day dreaming about cheeseburgers and thick-cut steak fries.
I briefly want to touch on some fad detox programs and, in my opinion, your best options for feeling fresh and light. (**Please remember, this is my researched, experienced opinion, however, it is important to consult your physician if you have more serious questions.)
For liquid only detox program it is important to differentiate between what is helping and harming your body. In general, a couple days of essentially fasting (being on a solely micronutrient-rich liquid diet) will not induce harm. However, extended periods of time (I’d say greater than 2-3 days) can be a risk to your health. Once you inevitably get back to a normal routine involving solid food, your body is more prone to problems with lowered immune system, muscle pain (as you haven’t fed your muscles properly), lethargy, constipation, and/or mood swings. For example, a famously known cleanse made popular by Beyonce is The Master Cleanse — drink lemon juice and water spiked with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Other than the obvious health risks of malnutrition with this 10-day liquid diet, the results WILL NOT be long-lasting but only a quick fix that will sure having you looking for other solutions soon after.
If you are willing to invest some cash, there are certain programs that can be sent right to your doorstep. Typically, these types of programs include different powders (i.e. protein powder, fiber powder) for meal-replacement shakes, supplements (i.e. probiotics and antioxidants), recipe guides, program guides, & videos. These are helpful if you do not have time to organize a cleansing program yourself, but make sure you find a program that allows solid food. For example, the 21 Day Clean Detox Program (www.cleanprogram.com) permits one light meal a day and includes a great balance of support through micronutrients (vitamins). However, 21-days is a long time. It is a big commitment, both financially and mentally. Such extreme caloric restrictions can be harsh on people’s mood and life. Think about this, instead of shelling out cash for a fancy program, try investing in a mechanical juicer. Then you can replace your breakfast with nutrient, antioxidant-filled juice (try the Fat Burner: 6 carrots, 1 lemon, & handful of spinach) AND have a new toy for your kitchen.
Detox programs that promise to purify by incorporating laxative-like attributes or drink concoctions that guarantee to “flush” your system of toxins are NOT safe. These will leave you feeling weak and malnourished. Further, using medications produced to help people with physical ailments (i.e. laxatives) and using them for off-label purposes can be dangerous.
Now, in my opinion, what works? Detox diets sound enticing, but they are a quick fix. For the same amount of time that you were willing to donate to a detox, why not consider simply eating a natural, clean diet. This can inspire permanent lifestyle change and give you the energy boost, bright skin, and weight loss you are looking for. Also, allowing you to live real life.
Here is what I am going to do. 30-day 90/10 Clean Eating Challenge. For 30 days, I am eating ‘clean’ foods 90% of the time. The other 10%, three days out of the month, I can have a meal I chose – a ‘cheat meal’ so to speak. Briefly, I will eat produce, free-range poultry, wild-caught fish, gluten-free breads, nuts, lentils, plain yogurt, complex carbohydrates (i.e. sweet potato, couscous or quiona), & meal-replacement protein shakes. I WILL NOT eat dairy, yeast, refined sugars, commercially prepared condiments, bread, salted nuts (no peanuts), gluten, beef, pork, veal, alcohol, and OMG DON’T SAY IT… chocolate. This is not about eliminating entire food groups, but more or less focusing on non-processed, fresh foods. It is about small adjustments like changing the cream in your coffee to unsweetened almond or soy milk and/or skipping the mayonnaise and cheese on your sandwich at lunch. Listen, the first week or so is going to be tough. I am predicting I’ll feel like I’m starving. After my body and I get the hang of it, and I start seeing results, it will give me the motivation to keep going.
Now we need to get creative. What satisfying meals fit into our challenge. Generally speaking, breakfast and lunch are easier when it comes to sticking to the plan. Enjoy egg white omelette with fresh vegetables or plain oatmeal with berries for breakfast. For lunch, a turkey sandwich on a gluten-free wrap with creamy avocado, tomato, and mesculin greens or my Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup. However, when dinner is concerned… it becomes true to its title, a challenge. You HAVE to be interested in the adventure of experimenting in your kitchen for this to work. Try my Quinoa Pizza Crust, my Clean Chicken Salad, or what about fresh Wild Alaskan Salmon with Blackberry Glaze over Asparagus Salad… sounds decadent right? (recipe below) Sure, simple grilled chicken/fish with steamed vegetables can be an easy, go-to recipe but try discovering a new hobby in finding clean recipes to enjoy; even if it is just squeezing some lemon wedges over your steamed vegetables ;).
Now if you are interested in the challenge and have questions, please contact me via e-mail or Facebook at PositivelyCooking@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/PositivelyCooking. Accountability will help us reach our goal, we are in this together!
- Alaskan Salmon Filets, preferred
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
- 1⁄2 tsp. jarred ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch of Salt and Pepper
For Mixed Green Salad:
- 2 cups greens, spinach, spring mix, 50/50 etc.
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- Crumbled white cheese, goat cheese preferred
- Stovetop Asparagus (see recipe below), chopped into bite-size pieces
- Extra blackberries
- Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
- Rinse and dry blackberries. Place blackberries in a small mixing bowl and mash. It is okay to have a few blackberry chunks in there, but do the best you can do get a smooth consistency.
- Add soy, jarred ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper to your blackberry mash and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- Place your salmon filet on your foil lined baking sheet. Spoon just enough blackberry glaze over salmon to cover the filet. Broil for 7-9 minutes, until salmon flakes easily and is cooked through.
- Meanwhile, while salmon is cooking, assemble your mixed green salad by mixing all of it’s ingredients together. Once salmon cooking is complete, place filet on top of greens, drizzle with additional glaze, and enjoy!
Tips: If someone in your family is not a salmon fan (like in my house), this glaze is great with any meat really… Steak, chicken, or white fish etc. Also, this glaze is fantastic leftover because it makes a great salad dressing.
- 1 lb asparagus, bottoms trimmed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt & Pepper
In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add trimmed asparagus, vegetable stock, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, until tender, stirring with tongs occasionally. Remove from heat once they are tender.